Players & Managers

We recieved a nice email from a fan Cliff Zeke Zier, a contributor on the Baseballisms Facebook Fan page, who very generously sent us some cool baseball images he has collected over the years.  He acquired these very early pieces of baseball memorabilia at The Baseball Hall of Fame.

Here is a Cap Anson Cap Anson Baseball Card | Baseballisms.comimage. It’s interesting to see that the card used the “t” for Capt., which is the original origin of the nickname for Adrian Constantine Anson.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1939, he was the first to achieve the 3000 hit milestone while playing for the Chicago Cubs franchise (at the time the White Stockings).

Anson managed the Cubs beginning in 1888, and briefly returned to the bench in 1898 as the skipper of the New York Giants.

Check out the Hall of Fame’s Inductee Biography Page for Cap Anson.

Next in Zeke’s collection is this image of Ed Delahanty from the Philadelphia Quakers / Phillies.  Delahanty’s career ran from 1888 through 1903.  The 1887 copyright listed on the photo initially confused me as to the identity of the player, as I wondered if it might be a different Delahanty.

The career details presented on the back of the image state that in 1899 he lead the league in hitting with a mark of .408. He also had a 4 homer game (amazing in that era), and had 6 hits in 6 at bats twice in his career.

Inducted in 1945, here is the Hall of Fame’s Inductee Biography Page on Ed Delahanty.

Mike Kelly Baseball Photography | Baseballisms.comMike “King” Kelly played for a number of teams during a career that ran from 1878 through 1893.  This picture dated 1887 for Boston chronicles his stint as the Beaneaters player-manager.  He had 156 hits with a .322 batting average and stole 84 bases, while accumulating a 49-43 record as manager…. but check out the lumber he was using, amazing to consider how hard it must have been to make contact!

King played in the important Players League, founded by John Montgomery Ward (and discussed on Cover the Bases episodes with Lee Lowenfish as well as Dan Fost).  He was the catcher for the Boston Reds who were the Season Champs with a .628 winning percentage.

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1945, here is the Inductee Biography Page for Mike “King” Kelly.

Do you have any baseball memorabilia you would like to share like Zeke has?  We would love to profile your collection and the stories behind your passion!  You can send us an email to wisdom@baseballisms.com or if the timing is right we can schedule a segment on our latest effort, Down the Line.

Again, a big thanks to Cliff “Zeke” Zier for sharing his memorabilia with the Baseballisms community.  You can hear his Baseball Memories podcast on Blogtalk Radio for NDB Media.

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Baseball Fan Michael Hoffman’s submission to Baseballisms.com reprinted with permission.  There was one common thread amongst all of the discussion upon the passing of  Hall of Famer Robin Roberts, and that was how nice of a person he was.  A friend of Baseballisms journeys to the Hall every year and has this first hand account of this legendary player ….

We lost a Hall of Famer recently and the impact was more painful than usual. I visit Cooperstown every year and would say hi to Robin always with a warm response. He was always there to support the Hall after his induction. He had great stories of people he faced during his Hall of Fame career. My special thing was his Home Runs as a pitcher. Robin was very proud of the feat and would let me know each year when I saw him. I will treasure the stories and the time I spent with him.  BTW, Robin hit 5 home runs!

Michael

Do you have a story like Michael’s?  We invite you to share your personal baseball story … Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We look forward to continuing to grow a community of fans interested in Wisdom from the Diamond!

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Henry!

by on May 17, 2010

@FanApart ‘s submission to Baseballisms.com reprinted with permission.  Autograph and memorabilia seekers will tell you that there is a right way and a wrong way to get the attention of a superstar.  In this story we find out how a 9 year old patiently waited for his opportunity to get the attention of a new Brewer’s Superstar …

In 1975, no one was more excited that Hank Aaron had been traded from the Atlanta Braves to the Milwaukee Brewers than me.  As someone who attended 50-70 games every year at Arlington Stadium, I was excited to see the newly-crowned home run king in person.

Sadly, for whatever reason, I missed seeing Aaron in 1975.  Maybe it’s that my dad had to work or something but it wasn’t until 1976 that I got to see Hank play.  It was early in the season, (actually, it was April 16).  We got to the park early, probably two hours before actual game time.  We sat midway between first base and the foul pole and we had front row seats, right near the Rangers’ bullpen.

An hour and a half before game time, Aaron and a teammate are standing not more than 20 to 25 feet from me.  There are lots of kids around me, clamoring for The Hammer’s attention, yet he pays them none. All around, yells of, “Hey Hank!”, “Hey Aaron!”, “Hey Hammer” – all rang out in a myriad of home run king madness. At age 9 – and having attended more games than any kid I knew – I always felt like I was a pro at things like getting autographs, talking to players or coaxing a free baseball away.  So while these wayward youths around me made virtual jackasses of themselves, I sat there quietly, biding my time.

My dad was curious as to why I was not behaving as the others and I could see his squint and buckled brow.

Hank and his Brewer teammate begin to leave toward their dugout.  There is silence in my section as the peanut gallery all scamper back to their seats.  I take that opportunity to stand up and cup my hands over my mouth, “Henry!” Aaron stops dead in his tracks, turns around and has a large smile on his face and looks at me right in the eye.  He points at me, then turns around and heads to his dugout across the field. Hank almost hit a home run in the game.  I recall quite vividly that he pulled a ball to the 375′ sign in the left-center power alley that pounded off of the wall for an easy double.   I could not help but to cheer for him.

There was no ball or autograph; just a very fond memory of The Hammer and I having a special ballpark moment together.  Something I will carry with me until I am gone.

FanApart

Do you have a story like FanApart’s?  We invite you to share your personal baseball story … Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We look forward to continuing to grow a community of fans interested in Wisdom from the Diamond!

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The Summer of 1969

by on May 13, 2010

Baseball Fan Mark Ahrens‘ submission to Baseballisms.com reprinted with permission. Baseball memories can be so vivid, especially for a 12 year old witnessing 22 future Hall of Famers on the same field.  This is also a story of a Dad coming through for his baseball crazy son …

1969 was a tumultuous time in American history. It was a time of Vietnam-war protests and a society torn by the aftermath of two assassinations. However 1969, and particularly the summer, was also when Neil Armstrong uttered the famous words “One small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” and young people from all across America descended upon a sleepy hamlet in upstate New York for three days of rock music-Woodstock.

But for a 12-year old kid blissfully unaware of the larger situation, it was great to live in Washington DC during the summer of 1969. The Washington Senators were actually winning games. Ted Williams had the team on a roll. The icing on top of this magical cake was that DC was also hosting the 1969 Major League All Star game…and I was going!

Like most kids, I pestered my father all the time to see the Senators play, bat day, helmet day…any game for that matter. Even though he wasn’t quite the baseball fanatic I was he took me to a couple of games a year. Naturally, I also bugged him about going to the All Star game not really thinking we had much of a chance. Somehow, probably through a work connection, Dad came through and I was ecstatic to be going to the big event.

The game was set for Tuesday, July 22nd, just two days after the famous Apollo 11 landing. The weather report was none too good and, just as we were leaving for the stadium, we had one of those mid-summer downpours DC is known for. The rain just wouldn’t let up.  Finally, the sun peeked through when we arrived at the stadium and I began to pray we would get the game in. However, we heard the radio announcer say the game was cancelled and would be played the next day. So, for me I had another day waiting on pins and needles while Dad had to do some quick scrambling to get off early from work a second day in a row.

The next day, we arrived at the stadium and took our seats in the lower deck behind first base. To a kid who loved baseball and idolized its iconic players, this was like dying and going to heaven. Right in front of us were Rod Carew, Brooks Robinson, Roberto Clemente, Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal and so many others. In fact, when you include managers and coaches, there were a total of 22 future Hall of Fame members at that game, including eight men who hit over 500 home runs during their career- Ted Williams, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Willie McCovey, Hank Aaron, Ernie Banks, and Willie Mays.

Two Washington Senators were selected to be on the American League roster. Frank “Hondo” Howard was set to start in left Field and relief pitcher Darold Knowles was selected by manager Mayo Smith of the Tigers to be in the bullpen.

The game started inauspiciously for the Washington fans as Frank Howard muffed a fly ball by Hank Aaron in the 1st inning allowing Matty Alou to score. As I recall, it was a short fly ball to left that Hondo just missed while in full gallop.

Finally, in the bottom of the 2nd inning, Hondo would be getting up to bat. He was facing starting pitcher, 300 game winner and future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton.

Early in the at bat, Hondo took a great swing and the moment the ball left his bat, the stadium seemed to go completely silent… I think I may have actually lost my breath for a bit. As I followed the trajectory of the ball directly away from me, a little right of dead center, I remember thinking this couldn’t really be happening, surely this would be a big tease and just a long fly out…as the crowd noise began to crescendo into a full roar, the ball kept going and going before crashing into the right center field mezzanine (later to be measured at 458 feet!)…another titanic tape measure home run for Frank Howard in front of a hometown sellout crowd. What could be better?

Unfortunately, the National League kept piling the runs on and by the time the Senators’ Darold Knowles took the mound to relieve Blue Moon Odom in the third inning; the senior circuit had put 8 runs on the board. However, “our” fireman got the last two outs of the inning before being pinch hit for.

The 1969 All Star game turned into a home run derby before such a thing became an All-Star game staple.  A total of 5 home runs were hit, two by Willie McCovey, the game’s eventual MVP, and one each by catchers Johnny Bench and Bill Freehan, and, of course, Frank Howard.

I specifically remember McCovey’s home runs for their ferocity…one seemingly still rising as it smashed against the right-field scoreboard. McCovey’s and Howard’s home runs sit in stark contrast to those in recent years that claimed it was too hard to hit a ball out of RFK.  I also remember Carl Yastrzemski, who replaced Howard in left, making a spectacular catch and robbing Johnny Bench of a second home run.

What I didn’t fully appreciate then, but do now, is the thanks I should give my Father for taking the time to take his baseball-crazed son to the 1969 All Star Game.  When I visit him in Florida a few weeks from now, I will be sure to tell him.

Mark

Do you have a story like Mark’s?  We invite you to share your personal baseball story … Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We look forward to continuing to grow a community of fans interested in Wisdom from the Diamond!

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Batting Stance Guy had better watch out, he’s got some competition for his dominance in the player impersonations category!

At least that’s what we take away from this Baseballisms video submission from Pete Watson.  Maybe we can schedule a pitcher / batter showdown.

Pete shares the experience of living in St. Louis and trying to track down his favorite Atlanta Braves player, Greg Maddux, through sign language and demonstration at the window of the team bus.

Thanks to Pete for his submission.  We hope you enjoy his baseball story.

We would love to hear from you. Send a Tweet to @baseballisms with a quick message, send us an email or visit our Upload page with a video message.  We look forward to growing a community of fans interested in the poetry of the game of baseball!

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